At the Baker Mallett offices in Westlakes last week, Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team signed a contract to build a purpose-designed new base near Gosforth in Copeland. This is the next step to bringing the new base concept to reality and follows an allocation from the Copeland Community Fund (CCF) of £218,043, earmarked funding from the Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association (LDSAMRA) of £12,000 and an interest in land granted by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).

David Moore, Chair of Copeland Community Fund Board, commented:

“In recent months the service provided to local communities by mountain rescue teams has been hugely significant. This is just one of the reasons why we are delighted to be able to support the Team’s plans to build a new base meeting the changing needs of a mountain rescue team in the 21st century.”

After over 40 years in the village of Gosforth the team decided a few years ago that they had outgrown their current base behind the Kellbank and thanks its neighbours for their tolerance of having a rescue base in a residential area for that time. The new base will be a modern, fit for purpose building with enhanced training and welfare facilities, communications and accessibility to the A595. The new base will be built on land just off the A595 near Gosforth that is currently owned by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and is leased at a peppercorn rent.

As one of the 12 mountain rescue teams in the Lake District, Wasdale MRT, like its mountain rescue neighbours, is totally reliant on donations for its funding. Some years ago LDSAMRA, the umbrella body for mountain rescue in the region set up a Rescue 2020 fund one of the aims of which was to help fund significant projects that teams ordinarily cannot afford.

Richard Warren, Chair of LDSAMRA commented:

“We are very pleased to support the Team from the funds donated to the region. Aside from being a fabulous new facility for the team, the building will significantly enhance the region’s capability to deal with major regional incidents.”

Although the notion of a new base goes back a few years, the project started in earnest in 2014, when significant funds were raised and the team realised that a new base was becoming affordable. Adam Nolan’s dog Jasper went missing in the team’s “patch” but was found by a member of the public and then rescued by the team. The subsequent social media campaign went viral and raised over £51,000 plus Gift Aid for the team.

John Bamforth, WMRT’s Chair, said:

“This is the culmination of a lot of hard work and donations by many people. In particular, I would like to thank the CCF, NDA and LDSAMRA for their continuing support and several benefactors who left very generous amounts in their wills to make this project possible. Singling out individual effort in a team is never easy but I would particularly like to thank one of our members, Martin Young who has acted as our Project Lead; he has driven this important project forward with passion. ”

Richard Longman, WMRT’s President, added:

“Please pass on my best wishes and appreciation to all involved. There has been a lot of hard work involved to take the project to this stage but this will be a significant milestone and things should move forward quickly from here on.”

The building has been designed by Richard Mottram of Egremont, and further developed by WK Design Architects Ltd over the last six months.  After a comprehensive tender exercise the contract has been awarded to Roland Hill Ltd. The Team has been supported by Baker Mallett who have provided invaluable expertise with respect to Construction Design / Management regulation and also supplying the project Quantity Surveying Services.

Chris Hill, Managing Director of Roland Hill Ltd said:

“Roland Hill Ltd is delighted to have been awarded the contract to build a new base for Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team. As a 60+ year old Cumbrian business we, fully support the significant service the Mountain Rescue provides for our county.”

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